Environment Protection Amendment Bill 2018 is issued

News

The Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Dr Gillian Sparkes, welcomes the Environment Protection Amendment Bill 2018 introduced into Parliament yesterday by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio MP. Today the Minister and DELWP commenced consultation on the Bill with industry groups and professional associations

The Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will implement the Act with the powers and tools to vigorously address pollution in the state. This process is part of the final stages of the wider transformation of the EPA.

The Bill also represents a transformation of Victoria’s environment protection legislation. The reforms change the focus of the current Act from managing the consequences of pollution to prevention, and reducing the risk of harm. The reforms are all intended to encourage a preventative approach modelled on occupational health and safety legislation and will provide EPA Victoria with the regulatory tools and powers to become a strategic and proactive modern regulator.

Breaches of the General Environmental Duty will result in penalties and sanctions, including criminal charges, with higher maximum penalties to better reflect the seriousness of environmental offences.

The Bill includes a range of measures to help the EPA do its job, including strengthening powers for EPA Authorised Officers to enter premises and investigate suspected breaches of the law.

For the first time, the Bill introduces third-party rights, which will give affected community members the opportunity to seek civil remedies to enforce the Environment Protection Act.

You can view the Bill at the Victorian Parliament’s website.

Further summary information is available on DELWP’s website.